Crews in South Africa have kicked off the third phase of salvage operations to remove what’s left of the MV Smart shipwreck in Richards Bay.
As gCaptain has reported previously, the 151,279 DWT bulk carrier MV Smart ran aground August 19, 2013 after departing the port of Richards Bay during a heavy swell. The ship, laden with 147,650 tons of coal at the time, broke up shortly after coming to rest along a sandbar just outside the entrance to the port. In October, salvors were successful in refloating the stern section before towing it out to sea where it was scuttled.
An update Tuesday from the South African company Subtech Group, which has been subcontracted by Titan Salvage and on scene since beginning, said that as of January 1 the MV Smart salvage entered the third phase designated by the removal of coal from the bow section.
Subtech Group said that the “Ndongeni” tug and “Ubhejane”, an A-frame barge, have been mobilized in Richards Bay along with a full dive team and two RHIBs. During phase 3, crews will use a DOP Pump to remove the coal into a hopper barge called the “Piper.” The Piper will then travel to a predetermined location to dump the coal.
Right now crews are still awaiting the arrival of the Piper prior to commencing coal removal, but Subtech did say that divers have been doing Broco cutting on the wreck and surveys of the hull. In addition, mooring anchors for the Piper have been placed around the wreck and a dry run test was completed with the Ubhejane barge using the DOP Pump.
Subtech Group says that after all the coal is removed, the bow section will also be refloated and towed out to sea and scuttled.
The company said that the plan is to have the bow section completely removed by mid-March.